Ultimate Evil
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Basic Information

The Trope of the Ultimate Evil is a villain-specific version of He Who Must Not Be Seen. May be the Big Bad Evil Guy, or an Eldritch Abomination, or the semi-abstract force that either or both of the above work for. Important thing is, whatever this great evil is, it's off screen or largely undescribed… so everyone can imagine their own worst nightmare.

See also:


For inspiration, read anything by H.P. Lovecraft. He's the original master of Things Man Was Not Meant To Know and the fine art of not quite describing them.


Game and Story Use

  • Rather than show the Big Bad (or even the Monster of the Week) in any scenes, just leave signs of his passage. Corpses mutilated in a particular way. An pungent odor indicating it's passage. Traumatized witnesses that refuse to describe what they saw. The mystery will make it have more power in your player's minds.
    • Hinting at what the ultimate evil is like is often better than showing the players a picture or giving them a detailed description. With just a few little hints, everyone will fill in the remaining details with what's personally horrifying to them.
    • Alternatively, don't have it appear at all, except as something that even the more mundane evils fear - or consider too evil even for them.
  • If your ultimate evil has a stat block, you have missed the point. Arguably it shouldn't even appear, except possibly via avatars or similar things (which should be the boss villain for a campaign arc, or disposable ragdolls and nothing inbetween, except possibly plot markers1).
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